A "good Samaritan" who died after reportedly trying to stop a fight would do anything to help anyone, a family member has said.

Ken Poihipi, who was in his 60s, died after being bashed on the corner of Elliot St and Great South Rd in Papakura about 2.40am.

He was taken to Middlemore Hospital in a critical condition but later died from his injuries.

It is understood he was trying to prevent a younger man from being beaten up when he was assaulted.


Police have opened a homicide investigation into the incident.

A family member, who asked not to be named, said the news of Poihipi's death came as a shock but she would not be surprised if he was trying to help break up a fight.

"He was just there for anyone - whether you were family, stranger - he was always there. He was that sort of guy.

"If he saw anything and someone needed help, he'd stop and help... He'd talk people down and say 'come on, calm down, go home' and I'm betting that was what he was trying to do.

"I'm just so proud of him because that's how he was. He would help anyone from any race... He'd go without and give to others. He was a great guy. He was an awesome person. Who would want to hurt him?"

She said Poihipi had adult children as well as a school-aged son but his wife had passed away about five years ago. He was due to move into a new house tomorrow, she said.

Patrick Kingi, Horahora Marae chairman, was Poihipi's uncle.

Kingi said he was a "good man" who the kids loved. He described him as a "good Samaritan" and said he was always helping out at different marae.

Tomorrow morning there will be a service at Ngahauewha Funeral Parlour in Panmure at 8am. Poihipi will then be taken to outside the Coyote Bar in Papakura for a karakia and then on to Horahora Marae in the Waikato.

The duty manager of the Coyote Bar and Gaming Lounge told the Herald the bar was closed when the incident happened but police came to speak to staff and look for evidence this morning.

Detective Senior Sergeant Richard O'Connor said a scene examination had been carried out and two people had been earlier arrested for assault. However no charges were laid and they were later released.

Police are continuing their investigations into what happened and are awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination.

Anyone with information about the incident or anyone who was in the area at the time, is asked to contact the Operation Cyclone team on 09 295 0200.